Wednesday, June 14, 2006
The Second Half
I turned 51 last week. With modern technology I'll likely live to be 100, so I figure last week was the beginning of my second half of life. I was pretty busy and didn't have time or energy to fuss over what the number was. The alternative to getting older isn't good so I'll take aging.

It did make me take notice though. If I've lived half of my life (or more if I get hit by a bus next week), what am I doing with it? What plans do I have for the rest of it? Anyone who knows me will tell you I'm a bit analytical. Our pastor preached recently on Searching for Significance. He said when we're young we plan what we'd like to be. When we grow up we work on what we want to do. Then as we get older we consider what we will leave. Starting the second half seems an appropriate time to start looking somewhere between the do and the leave.

Both of my daughters have recently done posts on their childhood memories; how it's shaped them into young women and mothers. Sarah has looked back on habits forced upon her that are a blessing today. She's also written about sweet memories she has of our days together when she was a little girl, and reliving them through her children. Leslie, who is expecting her first son in late August, spent some time reminiscing about a discipline (The Hate Jar) we used in our home. So I can see that I've already left some things behind, through my daughters. That feels good.

At 51 I'm taking stock, if you will. Where am I majoring in the minors? And minoring in the majors? Anne Ortlund, my modern-day hero, suggests making a list now and then, of what we're doing too much of and also of what we're not spending enough time on. I still have the list I made over 15 years ago. When I look at it today, I see things I still struggle with. Too much time on the phone, volunteering too much, not handling paperwork once; not enough time for devotions, exercise, good friends, and routine care of our home. And my husband. And our dog.

I'm working on changes - some big, some small. I've mentored young women, telling them our lives are not 33 gallon plastic trash bags that can be overstuffed. Rather, they are those rigid-sided metal trash cans. When too much is pushed in, things are shoved out, even if we can't see them. Often the 'shoved-out' is the major, truly important, passing-this-way-but-once stuff.

On a bit of a same, or different note - I also realized as my birthday was approaching I'd neglected some things. My husband has a saying - 'use it or lose it'. He swears that if we stop doing certain things we will forget how or at least lose the yearning for them. As my birthday approached, for some reason I cannot completely explain, I became somewhat obsessed with checking to see if I could still do this one thing that used to come so naturally. I started my birthday with coffee with my three dearest friends at the best coffee spot in town. I told them what I had planned. They are used to me so they just laughed, shook their heads, and told me I was a little bit crazy. I asked each one - how long has it been since you've done this? Five years was the most recent, and the other two were well over 10 years ago.

Driving in my car to the nearest ball field made me feel like I had a big secret, was on a mission. Made me feel silly. When I found the right spot I parked, got out and walked across the ball diamond. My only witness was a wild rabbit, muching away. He eyed me and kept eating. As I stood there thinking about what I was contemplating, I wondered - 'what if I break something? What if I can't do it anymore? What if somebody sees me and truly thinks I've lost it?' Before I could contemplate it so long I would chicken out, I just did it. I flung my arms over my head, with my legs following up in the air. A cartwheel! It felt so darned good I did another one and then another. Considering I was sick with a horrible chest cold and was starting to break into a choking frenzy I decided to stop. But man, the satisfaction of getting back in my car, driving away. I did it. I DID it. Fun, fun.

A few weeks earlier I had shared with my husband my fear that I'd lost my cartwheel ability. That evening when he came home, I told him, "I have to show you something." We went out into the back yard, with neighbors home on both sides. I did another one, and another and another. The amusement on his face was my reward. He said, 'I never doubted you still could.'

So here I am - starting the second half; making some changes, and doing cartwheels to celebrate them.

  posted at 3:12 AM

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    Girl Raised in the South

    I have a deep, abiding love for full octane coffee, sewing, knitting, quilting, reading, cooking, gardening, God and my family - not in that order.

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